After a weekend when on hearing England’s latest lockdown measures, Captain Sir Tom Moore was heard to say “Here we go again, now where did I put my trainers?” – Real Mallorca, playing their third game of the week and their fifth in 15 days, and with five changes from the team that beat Malaga 3-1 last Thursday, were made to rue two missed chances from Mboula and Abdon Prats in the second half, when their game against Zaragoza on Sunday afternoon petered out into a goalless draw.
Again, Mallorca dominated the first 20 minutes and it was one-way traffic as the Palma side broke quickly and caused problems for the hard-tackling Zaragoza back line. Unfortunately our attacking options broke down in the final third and the home goalkeeper didn’t have a lot to do.
We had to settle for a draw in a game that lacked any sparkle in the first half but came to life in the second with the introduction of Jordi Mboula in the 64th minute, who came on for Lago Junior who looked out of sorts. Mboula showed a side of his play we haven’t seen since he came in the transfer window and was a real will-o’-the-wisp to Zaragoza’s defence. The home side, who haven’t scored in four games, probably saved their coach Ruben Barajas’ job with this draw but his future at La Romareda continues on a tightrope, with his jacket on a shoogly peg.
Coach Luis Garcia Plaza took off a limping Baba in the 63rd minute and some fans were wondering how he even started, he had more bandages on than the invisible man! The Ghanaian international was replaced by Galaretta. It was Mboula who turned the game on its head with his introduction. He beat two defenders in the penalty area before firing off a shot that went high over the goal. It looked easier to score. Then seconds later Abdon Prats had a gilt-edged chance to rack up all three points but the effort went straight at the goalkeeper. Prats should have buried that, but all credit to the ’keeper who pulled off a great save, 0-0.
SUMMING UP: For long periods we were the only team on the attack and it was one of those games where if we’d played till midnight the ball wouldn’t have gone in. La Romareda continues to be our “bogey” ground and we haven’t picked up anything in eight visits. Mallorca were up against arguably the tightest defence we’ve faced this season and, despite other reports saying we’ve returned to the problem of lack of scoring opportunities, we had our chances but Lady Luck wasn’t with us on Sunday night. Most worrying for me is the form of our young striker Marc Cardona who had two shots in 73 minutes and in all honesty doesn’t put himself about enough for me. Coming from Osasuna in the transfer window, Cardona hasn’t had a lot of football but, despite scoring one goal, needs to start hitting the target more often to convince a lot of doubting Mallorquinistas.
After all these games in such a short period of time, Luis Garcia Plaza can give his team a couple of days off which they thoroughly deserve. That’s another clean sheet and we’re still unbeaten in nine games and most importantly looking very good. All in all a frustrating afternoon for us fans although this was a point won not two dropped, with 32 games left to play.
With the teams above us, Sporting Gijon (2nd) and Espanyol (1st) playing tonight, when this article was submitted today, we were in joint second position. Mallorca could be in third place if one or both teams win.
Stats showed we had 58% possession, 11 shots to Zaragoza’s four, six corners to Zaragoza’s three and we had 83% passing accuracy. Next up it’s Ponferradina in Palma on Sunday at 18:15. They have a game on Thursday so may come to Palma slightly under par.
PS Last week saw three icons from my misspent youth pass away (can 2020 get any worse?) with Bobby Ball, Nobby Stiles and Sean Connery shuffling off this mortal coil. I saw Bobby Ball and his comedy partner Tommy Cannon many times when I lived and worked in Jersey in the 1970s. I only saw Stiles on TV and was surprised to read over the weekend that after leaving Man Utd in 1993 he dropped off the radar at Old Trafford. He enquired about tickets once, wanting to take his granddaughter to her first home game on her birthday in 2009. He was told he must pay full price – shabby treatment indeed. I especially remember fellow Jock, Sir Sean Connery, or “Big Tam” as he was called when he played centre half for Bonnyrigg Rose. One day in 1969 when he’d became famous, he came into the Cafe Royal in Edinburgh where I worked as a chef. I roasted him a pheasant (which had been well plucked!) and when he’d finished he walked into the kitchen and gave me a 10 bob tip. What a cool guy ! For the record, I thought the best part he ever played was as the wisened veteran Irish cop Jim Malone in The Untouchables. Somebody once said of Connery, “With the exception of Lassie, he’s the only person I know who’s never been spoiled by success.”
AND FINALLY, a Newcastle woman has lost her case at the local magistrates court after she tried to sue the Royal Victoria hospital for negligence. Her husband went in for an operation which left him unable to have sex with her afterwards. Mrs Minger from Gateshead, aged 69, told reporters outside the court that “Me and me ’usband Fred ’ave ’ad bangin’ sex till ’e went ta ’ospital and ’ad his operation. Now ’e’s not interested in me and it’s all down to them doctors.” The surgeon who performed the procedure and attended court to give evidence said “All we did was remove Fred’s cataracts!!”